My family relocated to Bologna, Italy at an early age. I was first exposed to food as a child when my Nonna owned a small trattoria, cooking homestyle Italian dishes, after school while my friends were playing, I chose to help her in the kitchen to prepare food for our guests, not just because I loved my Nonna and liked spending time with her, but because I loved the aromas and the taste of her dishes.
They were simple, but well – defined flavours, with herbs and produce from our backhouse garden. This memory of my childhood is what inspires me to this day when I create new dishes.
I was privileged to train with highly qualified and award-winning Chefs from around the World in Italy, the USA and France, which exposed me to more than just my Nonna’s combinations of flavours, but also to the art of plating.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
I have always love quality, tasty food and wine, but also, most importantly, I love people the sharing of food with those you love. I saw becoming a Chef and creating food as a way to bring people and cultures together. It’s one way of expressing my love to my guests who later become my friends and family.
How would you define your style?
I create my own version of tasty, unique, Italian food that warms the soul based on my trip around the world. They are memorable dishes that are unique, flavoursome and appealing to the eye, with a flare of fine dining. I take traditional Italian dishes and transform them into a modern version with attention to where I am.
For example, in Italy, we make the ragu also known as "Sugo Di Domenica” (Sunday Sauce) with pork or beef, but in Australia, I make my unique version with pork, beef and kangaroo. I braise all the meats together in the oven on a low heat for about 6-8 hours with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, fresh aromatic herbs, my food brand Ultimate Spices, Pinot Noir and mirepoix. The fat from the pork balances the leanness of the kangaroo meat; I then pair it with fresh spaghetti pasta. You can taste Australia and Italy in this dish - unique, tasteful, and respecting tradition, but taking it to a new level in respect to where I currently am.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Truffle for its unique flavour and aroma of nature and Earth with every taste.
Correct plating and attention to detail in preparation, cooking and plating each dish to produce consistency. I am also obsessive-compulsive about taste and the gradual development of flavours in dishes because I believe God blessed us with variety. Food and simple flavours found in nature, not just to satisfy our need to eat and keep living, but to make us appreciate the gift of taste and life. Everyone deserves the gift of quality, tasty food and that is what I am all about. Tasty, soul-warming food that creates good memories and emotions.
Your greatest culinary influence:
My Nonna, my Mum, Chef Massimo Bottura, Italy and Chef Michael Bologna, USA.
What do you love about this business?
I love how the guests come in as strangers and leave as friends. It’s such a beautiful feeling that words can’t express. It also gives me the opportunity to express myself through my creative version of Italian food and provides me with the satisfaction of seeing my guests, friends and family enjoying these dishes either on their own or with their family and friends. That smile on their face as it brings them back some beautiful feelings and memories, that love, that feeling and that content smile on their face is why I do what I do every single day.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Salt and pepper, without them the food has no soul.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
My handcrafted burrata cheese, which is a fresh mozzarella ball filled with mascarpone cheese and infused with truffle honey accompanied with 24-year-old Balsamic vinegar port from Modena, Italy with truffle cream and chargrilled rustic bread.
Pasta All’Aragosta: fresh spaghetti pasta served with chunky lobster and prawns in a creamy lobster infused champagne saffron sauce with pumpkin puree and smoky capsicum topped with crispy, grilled prosciutto and chilli drops.